Yesterday, our office received an unexpected visit from a senior member of HM Revenue & Customs, apparently wanting to hear our views about Pacesetter, the workflow management system that we use. Less than two hours notice was given, and we only had about twenty minutes, but it was at least an opportunity.
And so, there she was, talking to us briefly about who she was and what she did, before it was our turn. Apart from one individual's attempt to hijack the session with irrelevancies, my colleagues raised various concerns in an entirely reasonable way, issues such as deskilling, such as working to targets rather than responding to customer needs. All very courteous, all entirely constructive.
Her response? "It all seems to be working very well for you.". Cue raised eyebrows as she headed off to her next session.
Bear in mind that this is in a Government Department with desperately poor levels of staff engagement, and one realises that, regardless of how well-meaning our leaders are, unless the culture changes throughout an organisation, creating a more engaged and enthused workforce will always run into the sand.
I'm rather hoping that said senior manager won't return to this office, as I might feel obliged to be slightly less polite next time...